Milestone in international justice

Radio Netherlands, Mar. 11, 2003
by Sebastiaan Gottlieb, 11 March 2003

The swearing in of 18 judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague marks the court’s official inauguration on Tuesday. Many of the 139 signatory states sent delegates to the ceremony, attended by Queen Beatrix and UN Chief Kofi Annan. Noticeably absent was the United States, which has boycotted the tribunal and left the bill for its running with European and other Western nations.

Benjamin Ferencz: [The American public has been deceived.

Coming on the eve of a Security Council vote on a new Iraq resolution, the timing of the World Court’s inauguration is unfortunate. The International Criminal Court has suffered from deep-seated international divisions ever since the Bush Administration withdrew its backing in 2001. But despite US opposition, the ICC was officially set up last July, after the required number of 60 states ratified the 1998 Rome Statute.

Tuesday’s swearing in of 18 judges is seen as a milestone in international justice, allowing those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes to be brought to book. The judges, selected from a total of 43 delegates early last month, elected Canadian judge Philippe Kirsch as president of the Court.

Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in this web log for the following reasons:

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America’s goverment frequently accuses and even threathens (e.g. with economic boycotts) countries that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights.’

Meanwhile, Washington consistently and deliberately fails to address America’s serious, real human rights violations.

As a Christian, the publisher of Apologetic Index / Religion News Blog believes that he (and other Christians) should address human rights violations.

As a member of Amnesty International, the publisher of Apologetics Index / Religion News Blog is an outspoken critic of America’s manifold human rights violations.


The International Criminal Court may exercise its jurisdiction over a specific case when either the state in whose territory the crime was committed, or the state of the nationality of the accused, is a party to the Statute. In theory, this means that British Prime Minister Tony Blair could be brought before the court if British troops are found to have committed war crimes in Iraq. After all, the UK has ratified the Rome Statute and Mr Blair, in his capacity of Prime Minister, holds primary responsibility for the conduct of British forces.

Whether he will be indicted will ultimately depend on the prosecutor at the ICC. Finding a prosecutor has proved to be a difficult task. No one applied for the post before last year’s closing date. A new procedure will start next month to give candidates a second chance to apply.


The Netherlands has put forward the presiding judges of the Zwolle appeals court, Bert Maan, for the post of Registrar, the ICC’s principal administrative officer. He´ll be responsible for the logistics of the court and its staff, which will number several hundred once the court is in full swing.

At present, the ICC employs some 40 people, tasked with filing complaints alleging war crimes that have come in from all over the world. The first trial is not expected to start before next year, as the ICC needs time to set up the necessary infrastructure to conduct an international war crimes investigation. This includes setting up a courtroom and other facilities in the former Hague headquarters of the Dutch postal services.

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